Defensive selling

Am I better off as your prospect or your customer? You know where I’m headed with this question. Some companies treat their prospects better than their customers.

Consider these facts. It costs ten times more money to get a new customer than to keep an existing customer happy. The average

U.S. Corporation loses half its customer base every five years-that’s ten per cent every year for five years. On average, it takes three calls to close an existing customer on a new piece of business and seven calls to close a new prospect on a new piece of business.

In your pursuit for new business, how much time do you invest in protecting and growing your existing customers? This is defensive selling-nailing shut your back door so that you don’t lose as much business from the back door as you bring in the front door. Offensive selling is filling your pipelines with new business. A major problem in sales is that some people are so obsessed with gaining market share through the acquisition of new business that they ignore wonderful growth opportunities with existing customers. I call this phenomenon,”pipe-line-itis.”

These questions will help you determine if your company suffers from this obsession: Are you working as hard to keep the business as you did to get the business? Do you treat your customers as if they were prospects? (They are, for the competition) Are you getting as much business as you can from your existing accounts? Have you fully penetrated your installed base of business?

I want to break free

I’d like to order some free.

I’m sorry, but there is no more free.

How can that be that there is no free?

<pThere is no free because of the fee?

What fee?

The fee for free.

What do you mean the fee for free?

Someone has to pay for all that free.

But it’s free!

Not for me.

You mean you had to pay for all that free?

Yes siree, we had to pay all that free.

I just don’t see.

That’s the problem. There is no such thing as free.

Since I did not pay for it, I always thought it was free.

Did you think all that free grew on a tree?

I paid for all that free to serve thee.

All that for me? I did not know. Gee.

Yeah, gee. We got to the point where we couldn’t afford any more free.

But I want that free. I need that free.

Will you help us pay for that load of free?

You mean help you shoulder the load for part of the fee?

Yes, because there is no such thing as a fee-free load of free.

I don’t know. I think I prefer the free load, you see.

I see. You’re a free loader. You want the load for free.


I’m sorry. There is no more free.

Tom Reilly is a professional speaker and author. You can reach Tom through his Web site:

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